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Magnum not the life of the party

I pulled a magnum of an exceptional Australian shiraz out of the cellar for a dinner I attended with seven other persons a few weeks ago.

With 50 ounces of wine in one bottle, I figured eight of us would be able to consume it without trouble. After all, that’s theoretically only a 6-ounce glass per diner.

Unfortunately, three others attending the event were also wine lovers, and one brought a fine bubby, another brought an excellent Napa cabernet sauvignon, and the third brought an impressive Russian River Valley pinot noir.

In all, we had 130 ounces of wine, which now adds up to nearly 16 ounces of wine per person. Two of whom said they would have only one short pour of the bubbly and pass on the other wines. And then two of us decided to try some fascinating wine the restaurant had by the glass.

The result, as you can imagine, was that my magnum was never opened.

I am writing about this today because this is the third time in a row that I have brought that same shiraz to an event at which I was sure it would be consumed by many people. And it wasn’t even opened.

The reason, I have concluded, is that people seem to be developing a new way to drink wine. Fewer people want to stay with the same wine for more than a glass. They seem to like the diversity they get from two or three different wines in an evening.

With larger groups this is easy to see. I chat with restaurant personnel regularly, and many say they used to sell a second bottle of a wine on a regular basis. Now diners are enjoying their first purchase and then asking for the wine list to see what else they can find.

This is a lot more adventurous than the so-called baby boomer wine buyer, who seemed content to re-order a bottle of his or her first wine.

Last week, eight of us dined at a San Francisco restaurant and we had a sparkling wine from Alsace, a pale French red wine, and a light-bodied California red. And that was all. Each of us had a total of less than 10 ounces and we were pleased with (a) the amount, and (b) the diversity.

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